Hiram College’s Tech and Trek program has generated hundreds of new concepts around campus, including one on display at the library. In an attempt to connect an upper-level literature course with the campus, Hiram’s Modern Asian Literature class members created an exhibit for the library based on the course’s materials.
The exhibit features a slideshow about the authors and books the class studied during the semester. Artifacts – such as copies of Mao Zedong’s “Little Red Book,” Vietnamese nón lá hats, and currency from North Korea – on display provide cultural context for the literature. The students analyzed China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam throughout the term and directed the exhibit’s focus on those five countries.
With guidance from their instructor, Kirsten Parkinson, Ph.D., John S. Kenyon Professor of English, the students weaved their way through decades of Asian culture by intently studying the historical and cultural contexts of the readings, gathering valuable materials, and preparing exciting artifacts to be put on display. The students in the class weren’t on their own, though. According to Dr. Parkinson, staff, faculty, and international students provided some of the materials used in the exhibit.
When it comes to the study – and cultural understanding – of Asian countries, Dr. Parkinson is no stranger. She will co-lead a study-abroad trip to Japan with Erin Lamb, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of biomedical humanities, in spring 2019. During the trip, students will immerse themselves in the history, literature, and culture of Japan – much like Dr. Parkinson’s students did this fall.
Dr. Parkinson hopes this exhibit will show people some of the diversity of Asian culture and encourage them to learn more about one or more of the cultures or literature. A good start for those interested would be to check out books by the Asian authors showcased in the exhibit that will be on display until mid-December.